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Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.

Tara Malmberg
Quitman, TX
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Lisbon touring
  • Douro River cruise and port wine tasting
  • Pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela
  • Stops along religious route of Way of St. James
  • Bilbao’s Guggenheim and Fine Arts museums
  • Full-day excursion along beautiful, rugged Basque coastline
  • Two nights in Pyrenees Mountains region
  • Three-night stay in vibrant Barcelona
  • Barcelona touring
  • Unique itinerary through Northern Spain
  • Stays in distinguished historic lodgings
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal

Day 2: Arrive Lisbon We arrive in the Portuguese capital and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times vary, we have no group activities planned during the day. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner. D

Day 3: Lisbon A morning tour introduces us to the city on the River Tagus; the afternoon is free for independent exploration. B

Day 4: Lisbon/Oporto Leaving Lisbon we head north, stopping in the small fortified town of Obidos and in the seaside village of Nazare. Mid-afternoon we reach our pousada in lovely Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city and UNESCO site. B,D

Day 5: Oporto Highlights of our city tour include colorful Bolhao Market, the historic city center, Baroque Clerigos Church, and the sophisticated Foz oceanfront district. Then we enjoy an hour-long cruise on the Douro River. Our tour ends with a visit to a port lodge for a tasting of the fortified wine exclusive to the region. B,D

Day 6: Oporto/Santiago de Compostela, Spain En route to Santiago, we stop in the old Galician town of Pontevedra. We continue on to Santiago, capital of Spain’s northwest Galicia region, arriving mid-afternoon at our parador, where we dine tonight. B,D

Day 7: Santiago de Compostela Last stop on the celebrated pilgrimage route of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) and presumed repository of the remains of St. James the Apostle, Santiago de Comp­ostela also ranks among Spain’s most beautiful and visited cities. We discover this important cultural and educational capital on today’s tour, featuring the Cathedral housing the silver crypt believed to hold the remains of St. James. From here we enter Plaza de Obradoiro, the monumental square surrounded by Santiago’s most important buildings. This afternoon is free for independent exploration in this eminently walkable and lovely UNESCO World Heritage city with historic buildings lining its winding, narrow streets. B,D

Day 8: Santiago/León Leaving Santiago this morning, we travel east to vibrant León, another stop on the Way of St. James pilgrimage route and known for its religious festivals and Easter Week processions. Upon arrival, we encounter the city’s impressive historical and architectural heritage as we visit the 12th-century León Cathedral, one of Spain’s most beautiful with its sculpture-covered façade and impressive stained glass windows; and Casa Botines, a Modernist structure by architect Antoni Gaudí. We reach our hotel early this evening and dine there tonight. B,D

Day 9: León/Bilbao Today we stop in the elegant port city and Cantabrian capital of Santander for a tour and lunch. Then we travel on to Bilbao, the industrial port city almost magically transformed by the construction of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997. B,L

Day 10: Bilbao This morning’s tour begins in Bilbao’s medieval Old City, with a charming mix of narrow cobblestone streets and inviting squares. We see the Catedral de Santiago (c. 1379), once a stop on the pilgrimage route; monumental Plaza Nueva; and busy seaside La Ribera market. Then we take a guided tour of the Guggenheim and its contemporary art collection. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the jaw-dropping structure of limestone, titanium, and glass has drawn acclaim, attention, and visitors to this popular, revitalized city. Our last stop is Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum, with a rich collection of Spanish and Basque artworks. B,D

Day 11: Bilbao/Basque Country A day-long excursion begins with a poignant stop: Gernika (Guernica), heart of the Basque region and the town razed by Nazi bombing in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War that was immortalized in the namesake painting by Picasso. Then we pass through countryside historically home to the Basque people of Spain’s Atlantic Coast and western Pyrenees. At the seaside village of Bakio, we follow a coastal road of wild beauty to the islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, with its hermitage to St. John the Baptist. We stop in the key fishing town of Bermeo then continue on to the medieval fishing village of Mundaka, where we enjoy magnificent views of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve of streams and a salt marsh surrounded by sheer cliffs. B,L

Day 12: Bilbao/Pamplona/Bielsa We travel today to the Pyrenees town of Bielsa, stopping en route in fabled Pamplona, known for its annual Running of the Bulls tradition. B,D

Day 13: Bielsa Fresh mountain air and stunning scenery are on tap as we visit Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Touring by coach and on foot, we see the limestone Pyrenees chain, its lush valleys dotted with clear blue streams and beech, fir, and pine trees. B,D

Day 14: Bielsa/Barcelona We travel today by coach to the world-class city of Barcelona, arriving mid-afternoon. After a brief orientation walking tour, we are free for dinner on our own in this most gastronomic of cities. B

Day 15: Barcelona This morning’s city tour features Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), a maze of medieval streets; and Las Ramblas, the tree-lined pedestrian mall that attracts locals and visitors alike, day and night. We pay homage to Barcelona’s native son, flamboyant artist Antoni Gaudí, visiting his fanciful Parc Guell and the landmark Sagrada Familia, his surreal – and unfinished – cathedral. Following a tapas lunch, the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. B,L

Day 16: Barcelona Our Gaudí tour continues this morning at Casa Mila, whose curving stone face inspired the nickname “La Pedrera” (stone quarry). Now housing a cultural center, Casa Mila is a UNESCO site. This afternoon is at leisure; tonight we bid !adios! to Spain, and to our fellow travelers, at a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 17: Depart for U.S. We transfer to the airport this morning for our connecting flights to the U.S. B

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking up hills or stairs, and on uneven or cobblestone streets. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 15 nights’ accommodations: 9 nights in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels; 6 nights in First Class paradores and pousadas
  • 28 meals: 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 10 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all ­entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Mar 22
Mar 26
Oct 29
Nov 1
Nov 3
Apr 2
Apr 12
Oct 6
Oct 11
Oct 15
Oct 22
Apr 23
Apr 30
May 7, 10
Sep 1, 6
Sep 10, 17
Sep 24
Oct 1
May 14
May 21
May 28
Jun 11
Jun 16
Boston, New York$4,778$4,978$5,078$5,378
Phil, Wash, DC$4,978$5,178$5,278$5,578
Atlanta, Baltimore,
Char, Chicago,
Cinc, Cleveland,
Detroit, Miami,
Orlando, Tampa
$5,078$5,278$5,378$5,678
Dal, Den, Hou,
Los Ang, Minn,
Phoe, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$5,178$5,378$5,478$5,778

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $683, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $1,395. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Airline upgrades (subject to availability) on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: Business Class – $3,595 per person; Premium Economy – $1,495 per person

 

Accommodations
    Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, Lisbon / Days 2-3 / Deluxe

    Situated just a few hundred feet from the Lisbon Zoo Metro Station, Corinthia Hotel Lisbon is a short, five-minute ride to trendy, Avenida da Liberdade. The hotel features two restaurants and a three bars, including a terrace lounge in the hotel garden; indoor swimming pool; fitness room; spa; and laundry and dry cleaning services.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Pousada do Porto, Oporto / Days 4-5 / First Class

    The public areas of the Pousada do Porto were converted from a former palace built in 1742 on the banks of the Douro River, which exemplifies Portuguese Baroque architecture and has been classified as a National Monument. The 87-room hotel features pieces from various Oporto museums along with contemporary furnishings, and its amenities include a restaurant and bar; fitness center; outdoor and indoor pool; spa with sauna Turkish bath, and massage treatments; complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning service. Air-conditioned guest rooms include private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Parador de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela / Days 6-7 / First Class

    Considered one of the world’s oldest hotels, the Hostal dos Reis Catolicós as it is also known was built by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1499 as a hospital for pilgrims. The 137-room parador is situated in the historic Plaza do Obradoiro adjacent to the famed cathedral and its architectural flourishes include a carved entrance façade, vaulted ceilings, stone archways, a Renaissance chapel, and four courtyards. The hotel features two restaurants and a bar, coffee shop, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, library, gift shop, and laundry and dry cleaning service. Air-conditioned guest rooms are furnished in historical style and offer private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Hotel Conde Luna, León / Day 8 / First Class

    Located in the city center of Leon, the 142-room Hotel Conde Luna is close to the Cathedral, Colegiata San Isidro and the Humedo neighborhood, an old part of the city within the intact Roman city walls known for its many restaurants and bars.  Amenities include two restaurants and bar including the terrace on the tenth floor overlooking the city, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, a fitness center, spa, and laundry service.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hairdryer, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Melia Bilbao, Bilbao / Days 9-11 / Superior First Class

    The contemporary Melia Bilbao is located in the city center close to the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and other cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants. Housing a collection of contemporary art, the 211-room hotel has two restaurants featuring Basque specialties and a bar; wellness center with gym, heated outdoor pool, sauna, and massage and beauty treatments; complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning service. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Parador de Bielsa, Bielsa / Days 12-13 / First Class

    Perched on the mountain slopes of the Pyrenees in Monte Perdido National Park, the Parador de Bielsa offers sweeping views of this mountainous region of Northern Spain from its terrace. The 39-room parador features traditional regional architecture with local stone and offers a restaurant and bar, terrace, garden, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, laundry service, and gift shop. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Hotel Avenida Palace, Barcelona / Days 14-16, Extension / Superior First Class

    Built in 1952, Hotel Avenida Palace stands in the heart of Barcelona and offers a good location from which to explore. The 151-room hotel is just minutes from La Ramblas, the Picasso Museum, and the museum housing the works of modern architect Antoni Gaudi. The hotel features restaurant and bar, wellness center, fitness room, laundry and dry cleaning services, and Internet access. Air-conditioned guest rooms are fully equipped with private bath with hair dryer, safe, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Barcelona – On Your Own

3 days/2 nights for $395 total price
Single Supplement $255

Discover more of this lively, spirited city.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • 2 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Avenida Palace (Superior First Class)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Silvia Alonso

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

 

Albert Planas Altes

“Albert was a pleasure to be with, always giving individual attention and helping with details while being very effective leading the group.”
Betty Wing
Missoula, MI

Emma Bonthorne

“Emma was the best! She was incredibly knowledgeable and resourceful, with warmth and charm to spare. Thanks for finding her.”
Susan Crews Bailey
Austin, TX

Blaz Bostjancic

“Blaz did an excellent job.  His talks on the history of the different areas were outstanding.  The talks on the Basque country and people, and his talk [of] Catalunya were most informative.  He had a way of making it interesting…”
Carol Pudlin
Culver City, CA

Fernando Conchello

“Always ready to help – very well organized. Answered all questions. Willing to go the extra mile.”
Susan Harris
Eugene, OR

Fernando Derqui

“Fernando was a total ‘ace.’ His skills and knowledge, combined with his charm and kindness, had all of us in awe!”
Jon & Ruth Hutchison
Riverside, CA

Elena Gonzalez

“Elena is terrific! Very cooperative, very knowledgeable and informative. She is always upbeat and professional.”
Richard & Maureen Wright
Fort Myers, FL

Maite Jimenez

“Maite was funny, friendly, knowledgeable, and very enthusiastic.”
Ruth Clayton
Chula Vista, CA

Daniel Luna

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Carmen Manzanares

“I’d gladly travel with Carmen anytime! She was excellent. She went out of her way to be helpful. She’s charming, too!”
Martha Siegel
Albuquerque, NM

Margaret Monnier

“Margaret is a jewel – she clearly loves her job, Spain, Portugal, and the local tour leaders she works with. She is the best of the best.”
JoAnn Jenkins
Alexandria, VA

Africa Palacios

“Africa is an amazing, funny woman and a great asset to Odysseys.”
Linda LaBella
Bohemia, NY

Jesus Martin Rodriguez

“Jesus was the best tour guide I have had in all my travels, which were many! He was very knowledgeable and really cared about all of us.”
Gloria Parisi
South Pasadena, FL

Jesus Ruiz

“Jesus was fabulous – always went above and beyond. You are lucky to have him. I would travel with him anytime.”
Jayce Schomer
Bloomfield Hills, MI

Hazel Sharp

“Hazel is a real gem.  We all appreciated her warmth, knowledge, helpfulness, and ability to keep us organized.”
Janna Pedersen
Storrs, CT

Vanesa Soto

“Vanessa Soto was terrific: cheerful, patient, friendly, capable, informative, adaptable, helpful, and always here when needed.”
Adam Lewis
Oakland, CA

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Giles Tremlett
Ghosts of Spain
Tremlett captures the Spanish character, history and modern politics in this masterful portrait, interweaving the story of his love for the country (where he has lived for 20 years) with interviews, anecdotes and observation.

Jose Saramago
Small Memories
In this contemplative memoir, the Portuguese Nobel laureate recalls a childhood both dark and magical, split between the growing city of Lisbon and the tiny village of Azinhaga.

Peter R. Bush (Editor)
Spain, A Traveler’s Literary Companion
This collection of 30 stories from a who’s who of contemporary Spanish literature, including writers from Galicia, Leon, the Basque Country, Madrid and Barcelona.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide Northern Spain
A literate, visually rich guide to Northern Spain from Galicia across Asturbias and the Basque Country to La Rioja to the Pyrenees.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide Lisbon
A compact illustrated guide to the city featuring excellent neighborhood maps and hundreds of color photographs. It also includes chapters on the surrounding areas and Lisbon’s coast.

National Geographic
Spain & Portugal Adventure Map
A double-sided full color map of Spain and Portugal at a scale of 1:1,000,000 with good shaded relief, topographic detail, roads and waterways.

Sandy Guedes de Queiroz
Culture Smart! Portugal
A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

William Melczer
The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santiago de Compostela
This is the original guide used by 12th-century pilgrims along the sacred way, reprinted with an introduction by a professor of medieval studies, plus endnotes and a gazetteer. It’s an excellent, hugely informative presentation of this curiosity.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide Barcelona & Catalonia
Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this superbly illustrated guide features color photography, dozens of local maps and detailed information on the region’s attractions.

George Mendes
My Portugal, Recipes and Stories
A showcase of 125 Portuguese recipes interwoven with tales and anecdotes by the author, a Michelin-starred chef.

Robert Hughes
Barcelona
This big, thoroughly enjoyable cultural history of the city touches on architecture, art, religion and literature from Roman outpost to today.

David Hancock
Oceans of Wine, Madeira and the Emergence of American Trade and Taste
Hancock’s unexpectedly engrossing book explores the culture of wine in Madeira and trade in 18th-century America.

Ian Robertson
A Traveller’s History of Portugal
A lively, admirably concise survey from prehistory to the present, great for travelers to Portugal who would like an overview of the country’s history and culture.

John A. Crow
Spain, The Root and the Flower
Take this book with you to Spain: it’s an absorbing, well-written account of Spanish cultural history from prehistory to the Romans, Jews, Moors, Golden Age and on to Franco and his legacy in modern Spain.

Mark Kurlansky
The Basque History of the World
Kurlansky’s engaging portrait of the seven provinces of Basque lands takes in everything from language to culinary heritage, role in the Spanish Civil War and seafaring traditions.

Derry Brabbs (Photographer)
The Roads to Santiago, The Medieval Pilgrim Routes Through France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela
This gorgeous book celebrates the shrine Santiago de Compostela and the medieval routes through France and Spain – each a World Heritage site – in 220 color photographs.

Juan Lalaguna
A Traveller’s History of Spain
A swift survey from prehistory through the Romans, Goths and Moors to the present.

Jose Saramago
Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal’s History and Culture
Jose Saramago’s richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditation.

Kathryn Harrison
The Road to Santiago
The novelist’s personal and meditative account of journeys along the Route of St. James, from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela.

Peter E. Russell
Prince Henry “The Navigator,” A Life
A complicated yet rewarding portrait and the first biography of this empire-minded Portuguese prince in more than a hundred years.

Monica Ali
Alentejo Blue
These short stories set in the Alentejo province of Portugal star a range of colorful expats and locals, including Teresa, a beautiful young girl from the village engaged to a suitable man who yearns to see the world and Vasco, a cafe owner losing business to the new Internet cafe down the road.

Ernest Garcia, Eduardo De Juana
The Birds of the Iberian Peninsula
This definitive book on the birds of Iberia covers the status and distribution of each species in the region and also includes photos and introductory chapters on climate, habitats and the history of Iberian ornithology.

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